This Is the Reason Grocery Prices Have Skyrocketed Again
At the beginning of the pandemic, most people were stockpiling non-perishables, and as a result, stores were wiped clean of essential groceries. The abrupt, low supply of several goods inevitably made prices go up. However, now that shoppers are no longer hoarding items, why are you still paying higher-than-normal prices for specific groceries?
The reason is that stores are now offering fewer deals and price reductions on various goods. "Promotions offered to consumers continue to be suppressed below their pre-COVID-19 levels for the fifth straight month," Phil Tedesco, director of retail analytics for Nielsen, told NBC News. "August saw a dip in this crucial metric from July, which is what has caused this month to be more expensive than in recent months."
According to exclusive Nielsen data, about one-third of items sold in the grocery store are usually marked down thanks to promotions—however, in August, only 26 percent were offered at a reduced price. In other words, the absence of these deals is what's driving up the overall cost of groceries. (Related: 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback).
Since more people are grocery shopping than ever before in recent history—whether online or in-stores—food brands and manufacturers alike don't have to incentivize shoppers to buy their products.
According to data from market-research firm IRI, the price for groceries is, on average, 5% higher than it was a year ago, and some areas of the U.S. are paying more for groceries than others. For example, in Miami, shoppers are paying a dollar more for chicken, which is a 30 percent price increase from what they were paying in January. In Los Angeles, people are paying about 60 cents more for chicken, a 20 percent increase.
The continuous lack of promotions is particularly an issue for low-income families, especially during a time when job security remains in limbo for many Americans. Time will tell how long this short-term supply constraint will persist, and as long as it does, the prices for groceries will remain higher than what you were used to pre-pandemic.
To save money at the grocery store in other ways, make sure you're following these 19 money-saving tips every grocery shopper should know.